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The new Vatican media in Pope Francis' time

Vatican City, 19 September 2013: “More than 9,300,000 followers and, thanks to re-tweets, at least 60,000 million people on their smartphones and tablets are reached by the Holy Father’s tweets”; as well as the “10,260,000 people every month who visit our pages in the various languages through the portal www.news.va via Facebook”, said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. These are Pope Francis’ record statistics on social networks of the first six months of his pontificate; a media success of which “few other global leaders can boast”, added the Archbishop. Archbishop Celli revealed these statistics in an interview with Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on Wednesday, on the eve of the Pontifical Council’s Plenary Assembly.

The annual plenary assembly on Thursday morning focuses on the priorities of Church communicating the Gospel through social networks. Members and consulters from around the world are taking part in the three day meeting which is scheduled to conclude with a meeting with Pope Francis on Saturday morning.

When asked about what innovations has Pope Francis’ style introduced in the world of the Vatican media, Archbishop Celli said that the major innovation consists in Pope’s ability to make himself understood by people of every origin. This is the main lesson we have sought to apply to our way of functioning.

The Archbishop said that Bergoglio’s style of communication can be summed up in four clearly defined characteristics. First, he uses a simple, direct, colloquial language, a language that people today understand perfectly. Second, he has a content that poses questions to people’s consciences and hearts, responding to human suffering and the human yearning for inner seeking, for the Pope knows what man’s human heart contains. This also explains his success with non-believers, with the people from other religions and with very many distant Christians. The third element is the way he gestures. Pope Francis does not only say certain things, he makes gestures that are able to convey this human richness, bound coactively to a profound spirituality. Lastly he also knows how to spark the human imagination and sensitivity through recourse to figurative language. Such as, for example, when he uses colourful expressions which communicate more than the words actually say, using simple sentences to express even difficult concepts. Who could forget his appeal to priests and bishops to acquire the “smell of their sheep”?
Source: L’Osservatore Romano


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